Review by Choice Review

Ramirez (Italian and US history, Univ. de Montréal) is an experienced screenwriter as well as a scholar; this background allows him to bring a valuable and uncommon perspective to his topic. In fact, Ramirez uses several of his own films as examples in this readable book. Identifying the book as "practice based," the author takes advantage of the relationships he has formed with the directors he interviewed for the book, and he provides an international perspective on the various films and topics he examines. One of Ramirez's concerns is the ethical obligation of the historical filmmaker, primarily regarding the risks inherent in reproducing history in filmic images, which can result in an oversimplification of events. The commingling of fact and fiction creates both the appeal and the risk in the genre of historical film. Part 1, roughly half of the book, constitutes a discussion of this topic; a chapter entitled "The Filmmaker as Occasional Historian" provides especially good insight into the artistic and historical duties involved in the craft. The second half of the book comprises valuable conversations with the film directors. Inside the Historical Film is a compelling, accessible study of the importance of such films and their potential contributions to the universal body of historical knowledge. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. --Meredith Daniel, Piedmont Technical College Library

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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